In theory, dating apps are simply a way to meet potential love or sex partners. These smartphone-dwelling matchmakers can even facilitate experimentation, helping users code for and discover what they want from another person in any given moment. They provide a way to meet people on a user’s own schedule, which potentially democratizes the whole dating process. (Honestly, who can afford to go out every night? Carrie Bradshaw was clearly a con artist.) To look at it from a distance, the future of dating is easy and great! And yet...and yet.
For another way to find love, you might consider this international player in the dating market, Elite Singles. When you first sign-up, you’ll go through their unique personality test, organized in 10 sections, that asks everything from your background and education to your value system and your interests. Based on the ‘Five Factor Model’ theory of personality traits, it uses trusted logic from psychology to truly provide reputable matches.
Coffee Meets Bagel is matchmaking with a twist: guys on the dating app get up to 21 matches a day, which they can like or dismiss. Women are sent a curated selection of the men who have liked them, and can then choose to initiate a conversation (and they can also browse for a match). Like Bumble, there's also a countdown element: once you start chatting, you have 7 days before your shared chatting window is deleted.6
One of the coolest features of this dating site are the Match Events. Paid members can attend local events (based on their zip code) and meet up with users from the same area in public places for a chance to mingle and meet members you may not have come across on the site. Some of my options were speed dating at a local rooftop bar, a beer tasting and brewery tour, a beginners sword skills class (sounds like a date that would be on The Bachelor), and a few webinars for people looking for relationship advice. If you usually have bad social anxiety, just think of this as a gathering for people with social anxiety who can all be anxious and awkward together.
Mutual is a free dating app for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You set up a profile, and then the app works similarly to Tinder. If two people express an interest in each other while swiping through user profiles, they're matched and able to start chatting. There's even a "double take" feature where you can get a second chance to swipe right on a profile if you accidentally skip it while scrolling. Facebook is required in order for you to use the app. This is to help eliminate the presence of fake profiles or bots.
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The Match iteration of flirting is sending someone a “wink,” and you can search through the Match database to find “winkable” people. The service will also provide you with personalized matches on a daily basis, which take your interests into consideration. To really make the most of Match, however, you’re going to need a subscription, which can get a little pricey — the cheapest option currently available will run you $21 a month for six months. A premium subscription does allow you to see who’s recently looked at your profile and who has liked your pictures, though, and includes a host of other features.
Online dating websites offer a variety of methods on how to search for a mate. Some mobile apps will match you with people based on criteria, including age, gender and geographic proximity. More traditional sites may offer anything from a simple search to a highly specific advanced search. Some more seriously minded sites request that members fill out elaborate compatibility questionnaires. Deciding which process is right for you will largely be determined by whether you’re looking for a casual friendship, relationship or a lifelong partner.
Happn is a local dating app. It uses your GPS to find people close to you. It does so with varying degrees of success depending on where you live. Like most dating apps, this one won't do you any good if it's not a popular app in your area. Thus, if you don't get a ton of matches, you should probably give up on this one. The app works by showing you who you cross paths with in real life. Once it happens enough times, their profile shows up on your timeline. You can then connect and chat. This is a neat concept because you're automatically matched with people who are usually in the same kinds of areas you are and that can be a helpful ice breaker. You can buy coins as in-app purchases. Like Coffee Meets Bagel, they're useful for adding functionality and increasing your visibility to other users.
Matches are location-based so you only see people near the city you set in your profile. If you travel and want to see if there are any matches in your area, you need to change where you are in your profile. The app also has a "We Met" section where you can leave feedback after any Hinge date. It's almost like leaving a Yelp review for a person. Users can also specify whether they have kids, want kids, have any strong religious beliefs or vices. This gives you a little more of an in-depth look at a potential mate than some dating apps. Hinge is only available as an app and it's free, but you can pay for a membership if you want extra perks like being able to use additional filters, see likes you've received and access Hinge experts to help you along the way.
Bumble looks eerily similar to Tinder, but functions a tad differently. The big catch with Bumble is that when opposite genders match, the woman must message the guy first — and she has 24 hours to do so. Guys can extend matches for 24 hours, if they’re really hoping to hear from a woman, as can ladies, if they want to initiate something with a match but just haven’t had the time during the first day. For same-gender matches, either person can initiate the conversation first.